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Attorney General of Virginia

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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Director of Communication
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING CONTINUES FIGHT TO PROTECT RIGHTS OF VIRGINIA IMMIGRANTS AND TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS HOLDERS

~ Herring joins coalition of 21 attorneys general in urging Supreme Court to ensure TPS holders have the opportunity to become permanent residents ~

RICHMOND Attorney General Mark R. Herring has joined 21 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the right of foreign nationals living in the United States under a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation to become permanent residents when they meet statutory requirements. TPS allows foreign nationals from countries that are experiencing humanitarian crises to live and work in the United States. Virginia is home to tens of thousands of TPS holders, including more than 20,000 El Salvadorans who were granted TPS after a series of earthquakes in the country caused widespread damage.

 

“This nation was built by immigrants coming to this country to find a better life for themselves and their families and we cannot turn our back on those values,” said Attorney General Herring. “The Commonwealth is home to tens of thousands of TPS holders, who came to Virginia seeking refuge and safety and who have since put down roots here, raised their families here, and become valued members of their communities. I will do everything I can to make sure that these hardworking Virginians are given the opportunity to become permanent residents.”

 

The amicus brief, filed in Sanchez v. Mayorkas, supports a married couple from El Salvador seeking to adjust their immigration status from TPS to lawful permanent residence. The couple sued to overturn United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) denial of their application. The case pending before the Supreme Court seeks to overturn the Third Circuit’s determination that TPS holders who entered the country without being inspected and admitted at the time of their entry – which is the vast majority of TPS holders – are categorically barred from adjusting their status to permanent residency. In their brief, Attorney General Herring argues that the Court should reject the Third Circuit’s reading of federal law as contrary to Congress’ intent when crafting it, which was that TPS holders should have a ready path to permanent residency and then citizenship. Attorney General Herring and his colleagues specifically argue that TPS holders play critical roles in their states, that they are integral members of their communities, and that they greatly contribute to states’ economies.

 

According to the brief, 400,000 TPS holders live in the United States and play crucial social and economic roles, as many have built their families, careers, and communities here. TPS holders pay billions of dollars in state, federal and local taxes, spend their incomes locally, own homes, and have families that often include children and spouses who are citizens of this country. Thousands of TPS holders are frontline workers playing a critical role combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and others work in restaurants, grocery stores, farming, agriculture and food manufacturing. Many TPS holders work in childcare; many also work as home health and personal care aides, nursing assistants, orderlies, or psychiatric aides.

 

TPS holders contribute greatly to state economies. Without their employment, the attorneys general argue that the United States would lose more than $160 billion in gross domestic product and $6.9 billion in Social Security and Medicare contributions, in addition to billions of dollars in taxes. The country’s employers would also lose nearly $1 billion in turnover costs. 

 

The brief states that every six to 18 months, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security decides whether to terminate TPS designations. Without a viable path to permanent residency status, many TPS holders live in constant fear of losing their protected status and being uprooted from their homes and families in the United States. The attorneys general argue that denying TPS holders the right to adjust their status to permanent residency would greatly harm these foreign nationals by forcing them to leave their jobs and families to return to unsafe home countries and apply for permanent residency status, a process that can take years or decades.

 

In October 2018, Attorney General Herring successfully helped protect thousands of vulnerable Virginians who hold Temporary Protected Status from President Trump’s unlawful attempt to cancel their protections and subject them to deportation. Following an amicus brief filed by Attorney General Herring and his colleagues, a federal judge in California issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s efforts to terminate TPS protection for natives of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

 

Joining Attorney General Herring in filing today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.

 

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